The parasitophorous vacuole of the blood-stage malaria parasite


The pathology of malaria is caused by infection of red blood cells with unicellular Plasmodium parasites. During blood-stage development, the parasite replicates within a membrane-bound parasitophorous vacuole. A central nexus for host-parasite interactions, this unique parasite shelter functions in nutrient acquisition, subcompartmentalization and the export of virulence factors, making its functional molecules attractive targets for the development of novel intervention strategies to combat the devastating impact of malaria. In this Review, we explore the origin, development, molecular composition and functions of the parasitophorous vacuole of Plasmodium blood stages. We also discuss the relevance of the malaria parasite's intravacuolar lifestyle for successful erythrocyte infection and provide perspectives for future research directions in parasitophorous vacuole biology.

Journal details

Volume 18
Issue number 7
Pages 379-391
Available online
Publication date

Crick authors

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